DesignMeets… Start-Ups Toronto

This is event has already happened. Read the recap here.



Entrepreneurs, self-starters, and risk-takers are constantly launching new ideas and services in the hopes of gaining audiences and investors. These “doers” are a critical part of our economic and innovation engine and a big part of the reinvention of the Canadian design & technology marketplace.

The biggest challenge for these idea starters is the viability and sustainability of the new business. How do we know this is a good idea? How do we know if it will have relevance? How do we know if it will work?

There are nearly 1.2 million small businesses in Canada (with one employee on payroll)

In 2010, 2.7 million Canadians were self-employed.

In 2009, 86 per cent of small businesses accounted for $68 billion in exports.

Current survival rates for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada decline over time. Only 51% survive for five years.

(Source: Industry Canada)

In our DesignMeets…Start-Up’s event, we invite entrepreneurs, designers and start-up teams to join us and discuss their start-up business journey past, present and future. Let’s see how others have involved design people, design processes and design thinking into their start-up businesses. What were the learned experiences—the tough decisions, the sacrifices and the financial realities—that could be shared to help other start-ups succeed sooner.


Speakers will follow the standard DesignMeets presentation format:

  • 5-images
  • 5-ideas
  • 5-minutes

Location, Date & Time

Thursday, June 13th 6-8pm

George Brown School of Design
341 King St. East, Main lobby

Pricing & Registration

All our DesignMeets events are free!


1. Sal Rabbani

In his current role as a Senior Partner, Consulting, Sal is responsible for the effective coordination and completion of all BDC’s consulting service offerings to the Bank’s client base in the GTA Central & East. He works closely with the Bank’s functional areas and industry experts to ensure that we have the right mix of skills in place to successfully complete each engagement.


  • The importance of putting entrepreneurs first

2. Mike Lovas

Mike Lovas completed an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering followed by a masters degree in biomedical engineering at Dalhousie University. Following graduation Mike worked in the academic healthcare sector in orthopaedic surgery and psychiatric research. He fostered his passion for creativity in his spare time and decided to take the plunge and return to school to pursue a degree in industrial design at OCAD University. At OCAD U, Mike focused on the healthcare design and sustainability. During his thesis year he helped found PUSH, a fit-tech start-up company incubated out of the JOLT accelerator at MaRS. PUSH aims to change the way competitive athletes and average gym-goers weight-train. PUSH is ramping up development and aiming to ship devices by Christmas 2013.

Topic (TBA)

3. Inbae Ahn of Stone Soup

Builder of Things. Lover of People. Co-Founder and CTO at Hubba. Also: Co-Founder Polyform Labs, Co-Founder Stone Soup (Part Startup School, Part Incubator and Maker Lab) and advisor to several Tech Startups.

Inbae’s mission is to positively impact the lives of 1 billion people in his lifetime and of course to help make Toronto a world-class technology hub.


  • Fundable start ups are scarce because VC backed accelerators and incubators look for entrepreneurs instead of developing entrepreneurs
  • To be sustainable, the start-up community needs to develop entrepreneurs.
  • Stone Soup is an accelerator designed to develop entrepreneurs. My hypothesis is more fundable companies will result.

4. Johnny Chauvet & Jean-Luc David

Johnny Chauvet is a multidisciplinary graphic designer & entrepreneur specializing in mobile UX. Currently working at Digiflare Inc, he has experience in crafting all sorts of apps across iOS, Android, and Windows 8. Johnny is always on the lookout for interesting app ideas to execute on his spare time.

Jean-Luc David is a serial entrepreneur & technologist based in Toronto, Canada. He’s previously held executive positions at Digiflare Inc, Microsoft and Yellow Pages Group. Jean-Luc loves participating in hackathons and has won several including Facebook, Foursquare, TechCrunch & Y Combinator.


  • Outlining the unique challenges of building a product – CardignApp
  • Why you should validate early and quickly
  • The importance of adapting and pivoting the design

5. Jonathan Carr-Harris

Jon has a deep love and fascination with products & design. Most recently, he’s been the healthy Founder & CEO behind Venio. Jon’s always been a self-starter and risk-taker, having previously founded three companies. Prior to Venio, Jon worked on education reform alongside Khan Academy. Jon spends much of his time observing people, and building products. On weekends, you might catch him rock climbing at Rockheads.

Topic (TBA)


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